Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi reached Kabul to attend the 2nd meeting of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Trilateral Mechanism, starting today (Dec 15).
1. Afghanistan is hosting a three-way meeting with neighbours China and Pakistan to discuss peace as well as economic and counterterrorism cooperation.
2. Foreign ministers of the three countries will lead their respective delegations at the second round of the trilateral dialogue Beijing initiated last year to help ease Kabul’s political tensions with Islamabad.
3. Pakistani officials say that a trilateral cooperation framework on counterterrorism is expected to be signed at the meeting.
4. FM Qureshi will meet top Afghan leadership, including President Ashraf Ghani, during his visit to Kabul.
5. China, a close ally of Pakistan, has lately deepened its economic and political ties with Afghanistan. Beijing is actively using its influence to bring the two uneasy South Asian neighbours closer.
6. China has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure projects in Pakistan over the past five years as part of President Xi Jinping’s global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
7. Chinese and Pakistani officials say they are considering expanding the bilateral China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, to Afghanistan, through road and rail links to promote connectivity and economic development in the war-ravaged country.
8. Pakistan says the expansion of CPEC to Afghanistan will give it better access to Central Asian markets for Pakistani exports.
9. Political tensions, coupled with allegations that security agencies in both countries support militant groups that bring deadly attacks against one another, continue to strain relations between Kabul and Islamabad.
10. President Trump approached PM Imran for help in Afghan peace talks. Earlier, US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, asking for help in resolving the Afghanistan issue.
11. Qureshi’s visit comes days after the United States sought Pakistan’s cooperation for peace and stability in the war-torn country.
12. Earlier this month, Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the Afghan peace process in his meeting with US Special Envoy for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad — the United States special envoy tasked with finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s 17-year old war.